Fan blog: Is this an uncomfortable truth for Sunderland supporters?
Successive relegations, failed promotions and a breakdown of trust between owners and fans has led to ever increasing discontent at the Stadium of Light.
Over the last few years the growing tension and discord in the stands has been palpable.
The blame for this sorry state of affairs lies first with the ownership, second with the management and third with the underperforming players.
Given this friction I wonder whether the planned restriction of fans attending games next season could perversely benefit the team, at least initially.
Our patience has been tested to its limit and it’s perfectly understandable for fans to have vocalised their frustration. The problem though is when such acrimony persists, creating a cycle of despair and self-fulfilling underachievement on the pitch.
In the weeks before ‘Lockdown’ Newcastle were on a miserable run of form. Since resuming the season, without fans present, Newcastle have picked up 8 points from a possible 12 and are in the top 6 of the form league.
In these games Newcastle have played with abandon, scoring 10 goals in the process; some turn around having not scored a Premier League goal for seven weeks before beating Southampton in their last game before football was suspended.
For teams like Watford, Bournemouth and Norwich, where fan expectations are comparatively low, players could really use the extra support from the stands right now.
For other clubs, operating in high-octane environments, like Newcastle, Arsenal and West Ham it may be that players are better able to thrive without the fear of having their every mistake scrutinised, allowing them to take more risks and play with rare freedom.
We have seen how the ‘Roker Roar’ can propel us to victory when the dynamic between the team and fans is at its best.
But until such harmony is restored, beginning with a change of ownership, the imposed exile of fans from the fevered atmosphere of the Stadium of Light could strangely prove advantageous to the team’s fortunes.
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